A Wonderful World At Perfecto Mundo
It comes as no surprise to us that two Culinary
Institute of America graduates produced a winning recipe when
they teamed up to create Perfecto Mundo in Commack.
Despite having known each other less than a year, the partnership
between Liz Keschl and Steven Del Lima seems to come naturally,
as if it were created in a perfect world. The
two met in January, took over the space formerly home to Maize
Cantina about six months later, and by September had opened
Perfecto Mundo. Del Lima, who created Wild Fin and was chef
at Black & Blue Seafood Chophouse, both in Huntington,
works the kitchen and Keschl runs the front of the house,
giving hungry diners unique and delicious Latin fusion cuisine
that is nothing short of brilliant.
What is Latin fusion, you ask? With a focus on Central and
South American cuisine, Del Limas menu also draws from
European, Asian and other influences. A good example is a
special during our visit: Grilled Salmon and Goat Cheese Burrito
en Croute ($24) with chilled cucumber salad, roasted Campari
tomato and jalapeno salsa, and chipotle aioli.
Its a matter of taking things from different countries
and making it work, Keschl said.
Perfecto Mundo does more than just make it work, though; they
The restaurant is a main draw of Commacks Northgate
Shopping Center. Sit at one of the tables and sweet, smooth
salsa and tri-colored chips will soon be on your table. With
a glass of Perfectos Secret Sangria ($7) in your hand,
excellent in either white or red, youre set to order.
Guacamole ($8) is a popular menu item, with smashed Hass avocados,
red onion, fresh lime, cilantro and Tabasco. A special on
the night of our visit, Smoked Chicken and Poblano Soup ($8),
prepared with roasted sweet corn, black beans, bell pepper
and tortilla strips, is delicious and warms you to the core.
The bell pepper adds a real kick that is complemented nicely
by the sweet corn.
A favorite at our table (and many other tables, we heard)
was the Flash-Fried Ancho Chile Calamari ($12). This dish
is an absolute must. Made with battered and fried tender calamari
in a sweet and spicy glaze and topped with toasted peanut,
the Thai influence was clear.
Another winner was the Steamed North Atlantic Mussels ($12).
A unique take on a seafood staple, these Prince Edward Island
shellfish come in a delicate broth with linguica (a flavorful
Portuguese sausage), sweet onions, red chiles, saffron and
chardonnay. Soak up the broth with the toasted ciabatta and
youre all set.
For something you definitely cant get anywhere else
and that realm is where Del Lima really shines
go for the Grilled Sweet Potato Pancake ($9). On a fluffy
sweet potato pancake sit barbecue pulled pork, roasted corn,
Fuji apple pieces, Hass avocado, green onion, roasted golden
pepper crema and Cotija cheese. With this combination of flavors,
you taste a little something more in every bite.
The clear standout among our entrees was the Chipotle-Orange
BBQ Glazed Tilapia ($19), made with black rice, two-cabbage
slaw, mandarin-mango-orange salsa and coconut-lime emulsion.
Both the glaze and the salsa are sweet with a hint of spice,
while the black rice has a deep, nutty flavor that pairs perfectly
with the fish.
The Grilled Marinated Black Angus Skirt Steak ($23) comes
sliced and topped with roasted pepper chimichurri, an Argentine
marinade. Dipped in the house-made banana steak sauce, which
has the kick of your typical steak sauce with a hint of banana,
its a great take on steak. We could have eaten the accompanying
fried yucca all night long.
Ancho Chili Glazed Jumbo Shrimp Tostada ($23)
comes atop a crisp corn tortilla. The huge shrimp are topped
with red cabbage slaw, grape tomato-avocado salsa, lime-cumin
crema and pineapple hot sauce. Del Lima packs a lot of flavor
in this dish, and all of them work well together.
The Latin fusion concept is even incorporated into the desserts.
Baked Plantain Crème Brulee ($6) has all the makings
of a traditional crème brulee with bits of plantain
in the mix. A special cheesecake the evening of our visit
was a creamy and decadent Bananas Foster flavor.
Its clear that Del Lima, who has Portugal in his blood,
put a great deal of research into creating his menu. Not only
is the combination of flavors complex and immensely satisfying,
much of the menu is also gluten-free to accommodate those
with wheat allergies. All of our entrees as well as most of
our appetizers were gluten-free.
Celiac disease is on the rise, and people want gluten-free
menus, but they still want good food, said Del Lima,
who truly followed his heart when he decided to pursue a career
in food. He gave up a full scholarship to play football at
Boston College to train as a chef.
Im a food geek. Its my passion, he
The place is child-friendly as well, with a $7 menu that includes
chicken fingers, pasta, pizza, sliders and tacos. Add live
music on the weekends and Perfecto Mundos got it all.